Meet the Team: Ben Haydock, Senior Software Engineer

Name: Ben Haydock

Position: Senior Software Engineer

How long have you been working at MBF Bioscience? 10 years

What do you do? I develop software. Most recently, I’ve been working on our imaging system and hardware integration. For imaging, I develop advanced features that help the user acquire the images they want. Another feature I worked on lets the user modify the display of those images for optimum image analysis.

On the hardware integration side, I work on code that communicates with motorized microscopes, light sources, filter wheels, and stages. The code I write allows our software to move all those pieces of hardware so the user doesn’t have to. Recently, I integrated our software with the current family of Zeiss laser confocal microscopes.

What do you love most about your job? I love graphics, I like to make hardware go, and I enjoy seeing my co-workers every day.

Tell us about the last vacation you took. My brother holds a cross country ski race every year on some land that we share with our sister here in Vermont. So I took some time off to help shovel snow out of the woods onto the cross country ski trails. After the race, my kids and I went skiing on those trails. That’s my  idea of vacation.

How do you spend your free time? I spend it playing with my kids, riding my bike, and skiing when I can find some snow.

Still Time to Register for Two Upcoming Workshops on Stereology and Confocal Microscopy

Do you use stereology in your lab? Would you like to know more about how you can use stereology to accurately estimate total quantities, lengths, areas, and volumes in your research?  This month sees two separate stereology workshops.  Dr. Dan Peterson’s “Practical Workshop in Confocal Microscopy and Stereology” in Chicago, Illinois.  And at Woods Hole, Massachusetts Dr. Mark West leads his “NeuroStereology Workshop.”

Founding Director of the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Dr. Daniel Peterson’s biannual “Practical Workshop in Confocal Microscopy and Stereology” takes place March 18-23 at Club Quarters Hotel in Chicago. The intensive, week-long workshop offers a comprehensive background in the theory and practice of modern histological preparation and microscopic analysis. The workshop covers the entire process of microscopic analysis from specimen preparation to the readying of images for publication. For more information read our Q&A with Dr. Peterson to find out more about his course.

Over on the East Coast, Dr. Mark West’s “NeuroStereology Workshop” takes place March 24-29 at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, on Cape Cod. Professor of Medical Neurobiology at The University of Aarhus in Denmark, Dr. West’s course focuses on how stereological methodology can apply to nervous system research. This year’s workshop will include lectures on the Cavalieri Principle, the Optical Fractionator, and Isotropic Probes. You can find more information about the course at the Neurostereology website.


March 18 – 23, 2012
Practical Workshop in Confocal Microscopy and Stereology
Instructor: Dr. Daniel Peterson
Club Quarters Hotel, Chicago

March 24 – 29, 2012
NeuroStereology Workshop
Instructor: Dr. Mark West
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts


Neurons That Control Light-Induced Arousal are in the Hypothalamus, UCLA Researchers Say

Draw the shades, hit the lights, it’s time for bed. Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles say the best sleep happens in the dark, and they’ve identified the neurons responsible for this function. They’re located in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that controls things like hunger, body temperature, and sleep, these neurons release hypocretin, a neurotransmitter which tells the brain to be awake when it’s light and asleep when it’s dark.

Published in the October 26 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, the study was led by MBF Bioscience customer Dr. Jerome Siegel. Dr. Siegel is a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.  Dr. Siegel and his team compared normal mice with mice that had hypocretin genetically removed. Both sets of mice behaved similarly during the dark phases, but during the light phases the genetically altered mice were unable to stay awake. The normal mice showed “intense activation of these cells in the light.”

The researchers say that boosting hypocretin cells will increase activity in the light, and by blocking this function it will help induce sleep.  This research shines light on new possibilities in the treatment of depression and sleep disorders.

Read the UCLA Newsroom press release here.


The Journal of Neuroscience, 26 October 2011, 31(43): 15455-15467;doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4017-11.2011

Our Webinar on Using Unbiased Stereology is Now Available to View Online


Our most recent webinar on ‘Using Unbiased Stereology to Accurately Determine the Number of Cells in a Region of Interest’ is now available to view on our website.

The Optical Fractionator is the most commonly used stereological probe in the life sciences.  In our webinar Drs. Jose Maldonado and Dan Peruzzi go over the theory behind the Optical Fractionator probe.

Learn the correct stereological protocol to use when running the Optical Fractionator probe as Drs. Maldonao and Peruzzi give practical advice for planning an experiment using the Optical Fractionator.  Discover how to count cells in order to get an estimate that is precise enough for your research while avoiding spending unnecessary time counting.  Use the theoretical framework presented in this webinar to support the practical application of the Optical Fractionator in your laboratory’s research.

Click here to view the webinar.

Register for Our Upcoming Stereology Webinar

The Optical Fractionator probe in Stereo Investigator is an extremely effective tool for stereological cell quantification. It is our goal to provide our customers with the most efficient methods and tools for their research needs.

Join our staff scientists Drs. Jose Maldonado and Daniel Peruzzi on Wednesday, February 22nd at 12:00pm EST for a webinar on using on using unbiased stereology to accurately determine the number of cells in a region of interest.  Our knowledgeable staff scientists, who use the Optical Fractionator probe extensively in their own research, will explain how the Optical Fractionator probe can be applied to your research.


Please click here to register and read the full abstract.

Upcoming MBF Bioscience Software WormLab Facilitates C. elegans Research

It’s tiny, it’s translucent, and it’s one of the simplest organisms with a nervous system. Measuring in at just one millimeter long, the roundworm C. elegans is a researcher’s superstar.

Used by scientists around the world to study degenerative diseases, the worm played a leading role in an opera in the Netherlands and inspired a British engineer’s search and rescue robot. Just last month, a wealth of new opportunities opened up when scientists redesigned the worm’s genetic code by adding a synthetic amino acid.

With C. elegans becoming so beneficial to biological research, we’re pleased to be working on WormLab™, a fully supported software solution for tracking, quantifying, and analyzing freely moving C. elegans, which will be available this fall.

“A number of researchers familiar with the quality of our software for neuron tracing and stereology came to us looking for a solution for analyzing C. elegans behavior,” said MBF Bioscience President Jack Glaser. “The more we looked into this field, the more apparent it became that there was a need for good software.”

Its genome has been sequenced, its cells have been mapped. And with the release of WormLab™ this fall, new software for tracking its behavior will significantly improve the productivity of scientists using C. elegans in their research.

Learn more about specific capabilities of WormLab™ on our website where you’ll also find a link to our video demonstrations.